Bingo square: Cannonballer Says! Caitlin_D’s review is here.
In the 1600s, Maria Owens fell in love with the wrong man. Left desolate and with child, her line was doomed by her curse – that those who fall in love with an Owens will be ruined. Siblings Franny, Jet and Vincent come of age in the 1960s, hardly aware of their heritage – that they come from a long line of witches. But they know they are different, and they thwart their mother’s rules: No walking in the moonlight, no candles, no red shoes…and on and on. When Franny turns 17 she is summoned to their Aunt Isabelle’s, taking Jet and Vincent with her. There they learn about their affinity for magic and how denying who they are can have consequences.
Though warned about the curse, love finds each of them anyway – leading to terrible loss and unexpected happiness. Spanning around forty years, the book follows the siblings as they become adults, through the changing times of the 60s and the horrors of the Vietnam war and ending neatly to join with Practical Magic.
I wasn’t aware that this book existed until I read Caitlin_D’s review. I was a big fan of the Practical Magic film when I was a teenager, and though I enjoyed the book a lot less (because it differed quite a bit if I remember rightly), I thought I’d try Hoffman again and see what this had to add to the Owens story. I’m glad I did as I enjoyed it immensely. The Aunts I remember are the ones from the film but it was still a joy to get to know them as young adults, and see how they learned about their heritage – and how they responded to it. I don’t think you need to have read Practical Magic to enjoy this one, it works as both a standalone and a prequel.
My one issue is kind of a silly one that I don’t think matters in the grand scheme of things, but which distracted me a bit in my reading. The original was published in 1995, and the film followed a few years later. That’s the time frame I had in my head. But it didn’t seem like the Aunts could be old enough then if they grew up in the 60s. And the same with Sally and Gillian when they appear. Probably no year is given in Practical Magic and so Hoffman can set this whenever she likes. But still, it niggled at me throughout. I think I’ll re-read Practical Magic soon and see if it fits, and whether I enjoy it more this time around.